Burn Baby Burn (The Vampire Diaries 2.17, Know Thy Enemy)

Having left it too long to write this, I no longer have any idea whether there was anything I wanted to say about this episode, really. Or… no, that’s not quite true. The things I want to say about this episode are things that have come from reading other post-air analysis, thoughts prompted by other people’s thoughts. So this may be a slightly different review from normal, focusing on what other people have said and how I disagree with them. (I always disagree with other people, even if I love them, even if I agree with 99% of what they say. It’s a constant risk of being my friend…)

Firstly, then, let’s tackle a minor and a major complaint from Cindy McLennan’s recap at Television Without Pity.

Minor: The title is grammatically incorrect and should be ‘Know Thine Enemy.’ Not so, says google – or at least not categorically so. I am not the greatest expert on English grammar, and I accept the idea that a noun that starts with a vowel should have a possessive term not ending in a vowel before it, but a) English never likes to stick with its rules for very long and b) the ‘y’ sound is used to bypass this in other situations now. We would no longer say ‘know mine enemy,’ even if that usage was common at one time. Just because ‘thy’ is an archaic form to begin with does not mean it has to be bound by the most archaic rules around, in my opinion. But as I said: I’m an engineer, not a grammaticist, so I went to google to check up on things. In the blue corner with Cindy, we have the King James bible, which exactly states ‘love thine enemy,’ along with most other translations of the bible using the ‘thou’ form. Fair enough. But in the red corner, we have Samuel Johnson’s dictionary quoting various other luminaries such as Milton and Shakespeare who put ‘thy’ in front of a noun starting with a vowel. So the final verdict here, I believe, is: inconclusive.

Major: Katherine is far too trusting of Isobel in this episode. Hmm. Equally debatable but this time I have no google to back me up and am going to have to put the argument together myself. How inconvenient. Whilst I would agree that Katherine’s capture comes about as a result of trusting Isobel, the amount of ‘trust’ she was showing there – just going to a place where Isobel has said she will meet her – isn’t really excessive trust, even for someone like Katherine. Isobel would probably have been able to have her captured that way even without Katherine’s trust. The trust part that is maybe less believable concerns Isobel capturing Elena for Katherine’s benefit. On the one hand, I agree that trusting someone to capture their daughter such that they can be killed is probably a bit much. But on the other hand, Isobel shows no signs of caring for Elena in the slightest (or at least none that Katherine would have seen). Also, I can recall Katherine trusting Pearl to a reasonable degree, even though in the end Pearl was wrong to trust her in return. The same is true of her witchy friend earlier this season, who turned out to have every reason to turn on Katherine and did so once the Bennet connections became clear. I guess what I’m saying is that Katherine seems to have an over-inflated sense of her own importance insofar as how much other people must be loyal to her because she’s just that great? Something like that. Her assumption that both the Salvatores are obsessed with her would also fall into this category, I think. So… perhaps it makes me wonder how she’s survived as long as she can, but I don’t think it’s out of character for her to trust people to do what she wants them to do.

Two other questions that I have seen in multiple recaps and discussion:

Minor: Damon would not have that many pretty soaps. Rebuttal: oh yes he would. This is the same guy who wears designer shirts and has a surprisingly stylish bedroom/bathroom setup in the house he only visited every few decades to eat his relatives.

Major: what is going on with the ruined house on the site of the witches’ murder? That seems very strange. Some people have assumed that the witches were killed in the house, but if that’s the case then… well, it just seems rather odd. Isn’t burning the standard method of witch-killing? Or at least hanging/drowning/exploding. None of which are easily done inside a mansion, nor can I see why you would want to. So either they were killed on open ground and the house was built over it later, in which case it’s kind of weird that the dead witches have so much power to fry Damon within the walls of the house, or else they really were killed in there and some Mystic Falls family or other had a really weird tradition going for a while (if Emily was later taken there too).

Sundry observations:

– Yay, Isobel’s dead. She was always more interesting off screen than on.

– Could David Anders really turn out to play a well-intentioned guy on this show? Surely not. I actually felt a little sorry for him at the end…

– Loved Damon getting caught out by forgetting what people knew when he was telling the Sheriff and Mayor that John would get better from his neck snapping, then just shrugging and going with it.

– speaking of which, poor Sheriff at the end. And poor Matt. Sniff.

– I unfortunately got spoiled for the Alaric thing by someone using the ‘Klaularic’ portmanteau on twitter and me figuring it out before watching. It’s a shame really because that would have been a nice shock moment otherwise, I think.

Eh, that’s enough. It’s particularly tough trying to write about The Vampire Diaries after a delay of several weeks, because the plot has already moved on just so far from here…

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About Susannah

31-year-old who gave up her day job to go travelling for a few months, theoretically to help her work out what to do with her life. Amazingly enough, that seemed to work, and I am now back in the UK doing a PhD in a different field entirely. No longer posting regular travel blogs, because no longer travelling regularly. Boo.
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One Response to Burn Baby Burn (The Vampire Diaries 2.17, Know Thy Enemy)

  1. cheekyhobbit says:

    He totally would have that many pretty soaps. This is Damon we’re talking about…

    The house thing annoys me too. WTF?

    And I don’t know about well-intentioned, but…he somewhat redeemed himself. I will miss you, David Anders.

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